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Mt. Danayag Day Hike in Aurora

Despite the rain, I felt sleepy and sluggish up until we got to the second hour of our hike.  After being on the road for 5 hours the night before, the lack of a proper sleep had taken its toll, even the fresh mountain air couldn't wake me up. Thankfully, the first part of the trail from Brgy. Ditumabo, was easy. It was flat though very muddy. 

The same barangay serves as the jump-off to visitors going to Mother falls, a major attraction for people visiting the nearby municipality of Baler. Popular as a surf spot with plenty of restaurants around it, I toyed with the idea of staying behind to relax and enjoy the sea. But being a loyal lover, I had chosen the mountains again for the nth time. 
Rest stop at this view deck
The rain that welcomed us at the start of the hike accompanied us on our way up the mountain, making it uncomfortably cold. After the flat terrain, it became steeper and narrower. I was wet, both from the rain and sweat. I brushed countless times on plants along the the trail but I don't mind. The thick forest was enjoyable. Though rainwater had made it slippery, there were lots of branches to hold on to making the hike up quite manageable. There were limatiks (leeches) present too but  since I stayed at the back of the pack, I only had limited encounters with the blood suckers. 
Pitcher plants
Before we know it, we had gotten through 6 hours of the hike. We had a quick lunch at the campsite, about 40 minutes away from the summit. While we were gorging on food, other insects (niknik) feasted on us. These insects have the most annoying bite. Itchy and painful on the skin, its bites can cause scarring. Good thing, it can be driven away with insect repellent. 
While the fog had obscured the views at the summit, we were entertained by the plant life around us. The mountain is  more or less 1,595 MASL tall and we hardly noticed the long hike to its peak. Passing a mossy forest,  we saw orchids, pitcher plants with a wide base and other wild flowers. 
These heart-shaped flowers were right in the middle of the trail and I just had to stop and take a photo. :)
Going back down the same way was actually more challenging and longer. We had to be careful with the muddy and slippery trail. We finished the hike in 13 hours and celebrated with a nice meal at Bayler View Restaurant in Baler. 
Summit shot. Photo from Gideon Lasco.
Notes : 
The mountain's jump-off is in Brgy. Ditumabo, San Luis, Aurora. 
To hike this mountain, go to barangay hall and inquire for guides.
A day hike takes about 13 hours, out and back but it may vary depending on the group's pace. Limatiks are present along the mossy forest section. As mentioned above,  there are also nikniks at the campsite near the summit. There are no water sources in the middle of the trail. You need to bring enough (I brought 2.5 liters) hydration for your hike. 

Baler, a popular surf spot is near San Luis and is a nice place to explore. There's plenty of lodging options, restaurants and welcoming locals. Here's a helpful resource,  Lakwatsero | Baler Travel Guide 2018

Related Blog : 
My friend Gid has also posted his blog about our hike on Pinoy Mountaineer | Hiking matters #585.

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